Municipal Planning Coordination & Communications
Improve coordination and communications of municipal planning and land use development efforts:
1. Increase the visibility of planning coordination and local development efforts. Our community interviews revealed that the city, developers, and nonprofit organizations have undertaken many efforts to improve Downtown Lynn and the city as whole, but that each of these various entities and the general public are not always aware of all of these efforts. The danger in this lack of awareness is that it can, and often does, lead to the perception that the city, or other entities, are not doing their part. Furthermore, our conversations revealed that some efforts overlap with others, or are being pursued in an uncoordinated fashion (which is also stated in the Lynn: Economic Development and Outlook report by the Salem State University Center for Economic Development and Sustainability (CEDS), as well as other documents MAPC reviewed in our research of previous Downtown Planning efforts). Coordination of efforts can help to create synergy and reduce inefficiency. Track and communicate progress on the implementation of planning and development initiatives through the City’s website, announcements using traditional and social media, and by convening advisory groups or public meetings. Regularly revisit the goals and objectives identified in these initiatives to identify milestones and update priorities.
2. Update city and agency websites and create a central repository for planning and local development documents.
3. Clarify and communicate the roles and responsibilities of all municipal departments, public agencies, councils, boards, commissions, and committees involved in city planning and economic development. Publish roles and responsibilities on the website, as well as in documents such a business/permitting guide. See our Business Vitality recommendations for an example of another community's business/permitting guide.
4. Centralize citywide master planning and long-range planning functions.
5. Obtain Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and train city planning and development staff to use it. Consider hiring GIS developers and analysts to manage the City’s geographic database, which may be of use to other departments including but not limited Inspectional Services, Engineering, Assessor, and Public Works.
6. Create a Planning Director position for the City and fill the position with a qualified, experienced professional city planner with a Masters degree in city planning or a related field, with at least five years of professional experience.
7. Create day-to-day coordination role between city planning staff and the Inspectional Services Department for development review and zoning enforcement.
8. Undertake a citywide master planning effort and revise or rewrite the Lynn Zone Ordinance to coordinate with the new master plan. Ensure that capital plans, work plans, and local policies are aligned with the master plan and Lynn Zone Ordinance.
9. Become a more active participant in regional and statewide planning activities, as convened by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (including the Inner Core Committee and North Shore Coalition), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and other state and regional agencies.